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Terry's Original Quote Keepers

A minute of silence can be more productive than an hour of debate.
~Terry Braverman

Arrest yourself when under the influence of a negative thought.
~Terry Braverman

Give me levity, or give me death!
~Terry Braverman

An intimate relationship is the ultimate training.
~Terry Braverman

Clarity of purpose is the ultimate decongestant.
~Terry Braverman

Faith keeps the voice of fear out of your ear.
~Terry Braverman

Peace begins between your ears.
~Terry Braverman

Peace begins between your ears.
~Terry Braverman

Be patient, before you become a patient.
~Terry Braverman

Over-analysis causes paralysis.
~Terry Braverman

May the 'farce' be with you.
~Terry Braverman

Plan some time to be spontaneous.
~Terry Braverman

Laugh at yourself, and you will always be amused.
~Terry Braverman

Imagination sharpens the dull blade of routine.
~Terry Braverman

Inquisitiveness cures boredom; nothing cures inquisitiveness.
~Terry Braverman

Feed your soul, starve your worries.
~Terry Braverman

Avoid time in the Tower of Babble.
~Terry Braverman

Release any false sense of insecurity.
~Terry Braverman

Life is a fantasy, made real by our thoughts.
~Terry Braverman

Employing humor in the workplace has its risks and rewards. If you are going to poke fun at someone, let it be you, or a person with whom you have a solid relationship and you know they will take it in good humor. This is especially true if the humor has a sarcastic twinge to it. Otherwise, it would be wise to avoid sarcasm or any humor that is at the expense of someone else.

 

Poking fun at yourself is a safe form of humor, unless you bludgeon yourself with it, which makes others uncomfortable. If you’re doing business in Japan, it would be prudent to avoid self-deprecating humor since it’s not embraced in their culture. On the other hand, they love puns and cartoons. Neutral subjects such as the weather are usually OK to make a joke about in any culture. Common gripes that a group of workers share collectively are a safe haven for humor. But no matter what, there is always an element of risk involved because you cannot be 100% certain how people will take it.

 

Humor can fall flat and even boomerang, depending on the mood, the timing and the environment. Keep those factors in mind and use both intuition and common sense. If you are uncertain at all, you can preface your quip or joke by saying, “I just thought of something that I think is humorous. Can I share it with you?” Even if it flops, at least you had their permission to share it.

"Most managers," said futurist Alvin Toffler, "were trained to be the thing they most despise...bureaucrats." Bureaucratic workplace rules, policies and red tape are a major frustration, both for the manager who has to enforce them, and for the employees who have to endure them. Employees often cite baffling workplace rules as an impediment to getting their work done efficiently. Some workplace rules are essential to deal with important considerations such as safety. But arbitrary edicts for every aspect of office life act as handcuffs, limiting people's ability to achieve the best results.

 

In the book Hacking Work: Breaking Stupid Rules For Smart Results, authors Bill Jensen and Josh Klein show how today's top performers are taking matters into their own hands to circumvent all sorts of rules just to get their work done. These are dubbed benevolent hackers who find ways to get around stupid rules to get smarter results. The authors cite an example of employees frustrated because their boss insists that all presentations be delivered in PowerPoint. But collaborating with others on PowerPoint slides took forever to upload (and download) files on the company's Microsoft SharePoint servers.

 

Breaking the rules by surreptitiously using Google Documents for the collaborative work, and saving to PowerPoint at the last minute, saved hours of frustration and helped these employees accomplish more. Another example cited is of an employee who was tired of spending six to eight hours a month doing his expense reports according to his employer's cumbersome forms. He now uses Mint.com to create a one-pager of his expenses and even uses Salesreceiptstore.com to order duplicate sets of receipts to match his expenses so he doesn't have to carry pockets full of receipts.

 

What these two examples teach business executives is that there's an urgent need to keep up with the rapidly changing work environment, not only in terms of how people work today, but also what tools are available out there. The authors state that "the tools we have outside of work are leapfrogging past what we use on the job." Preventing employees from using these tools makes their life needlessly more difficult. And many will find a way to work around firewalls and use them anyway because these tools allow them to work more efficiently.

 

Reprinted portion of article by Bruna Martinuzzi, founder of Clarion Enterprises Ltd., and the author of two books: Presenting with Credibility: Practical Tools and Techniques for Effective Presentations and The Leader as a Mensch: Become the Kind of Person Others Want to Follow.

Not only can change be unsettling, but downright chaotic. At Huntington Memorial Hospital in Pasadena, CA, a shortage of parking spaces had developed. After months of endless meetings to tackle the problem, administration revealed plans for a new parking structure. However, precious parking spaces had temporarily disappeared while construction took place, and the parking lots were knotted every morning. The hospital’s personnel manager showed how to defuse some of the frustration in the following memo:

 

TO: Employees

FROM: Management

Re: Employee Parking Rules

 

Employees may participate in a demolition derby that starts in employee lots each morning promptly at 9:00 a.m. after all the spaces are filled. Employees who do not participate will automatically be declared losers.

Employees who park illegally one time will be warned, after two times, will be stripped and flogged in front of other violators, and after three times will be forced to eat all their meals in the company cafeteria.

Employees whose cars stick out in traffic lanes will have their rear ends painted red. If they continue to park this way, we will do the same thing to their cars.

 

A human resource director I knew used an amusing tactical device to make sure her memos were noticed. Whenever she sent a memo to other departments, she would attach it to a cartoon, toy, or prop. “People will not only read the memos but remember them as well,” she asserted.       

 

One of the most popular exercises in my seminar is when I give the group a typically heavy-handed memo from a hypothetical company, and have them rewrite it in a humorous fashion. I break off the group into teams of six or seven people to collectively brainstorm funny, creative, and outrageous reconfigurations of the memo.

 

After a time frame of 15-20 minutes to recreate the memo, each group appoints a spokesperson to read the revised copy. I’m always impressed with how clever and funny many of them are, as are the participants who created them. In Hawaii, one team rewrote the whole memo in Hawaiian Pidgin English, while another reworked theirs in “Ebonics”. It’s tremendously valuable for them to experience working, creating, and laughing together as a team.

A friend of mine, Tom Daly, gave a seminar on teamwork in which he asked us to facilitate a fun and revealing exercise. He took me and seven other volunteers from the group to the back of the room and instructed us: “When I say, `GO!’ I want one leader to stand in the middle, and the rest of you to lock arms with each other in any way you choose around the leader. Then, in collaboration with the leader, you’re going to move this small folding table with the tray on top (and a coffee mug on top of that) from one corner of the room to another.” I immediately had a vision of how it could be done quickly, and when Tom asked us how much time we needed, I said we could do it in two minutes.

 

When Tom gave the signal to proceed, I jumped in the middle and asked everyone to lock arms and face me, except for the person closest to the table, whom I had turn and face away from the circle but still locking arms with the rest of us. He asked me if one person could pull the whole table and I said, “Yes, absolutely! You can do it.” With little time for processing, I had to be assertive and think fast to get the job done in two minutes.

 

We proceeded to move en masse toward our goal. Everyone else was laughing as we shuffled across the room and down the aisle, with the guy hauling the table bringing up the rear. Then an obstacle showed up in the form of an overturned chair in our path. Before I could give an instruction, the person at the front of the circle kicked the chair aside. “Good job, macho man!” I shouted, which provoked more laughter from the rest of the room. We reached the corner of the room and I told the team to rotate so that the person with the table would be facing the corner. Then he set the table in place, and the task was finished in a minute and twenty seconds.

 

This humorous exercise was a great learning experience for all of us. Tom asked me my thoughts about leading the group. I replied that I probably would not have led if not for the clear vision I had for getting it done simply and quickly.

 

Each person on the team gave their viewpoint from the questions Tom asked of them: Did they feel like an integral part of the team, even though they had no verbal input? One person suggested it was easier to yield to the strategy given by the leader and work with a team of strangers than among her co-workers (perhaps knowing their flaws all too well and the personality dynamics between them). Were any of them tempted to dispute the leader’s strategy? A few were, but said they ceded to the leader due to time limitations. Was it fun? Unanimously, a good time was had by all!

 

Excerpt from the book, “When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Lighten Up!”

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